Architecture studio Polysmiths utilised cork panels to clad inside and external surfaces at Cork Residence in east London, which was designed working with materials available for the duration of the Covid-19 lockdown.
Polysmiths director Charles Wu adopted the roles of architect, consumer and developer for the Cork Property project, which he intended as a residence for himself and his partner.
Wu obtained a rectangular brownfield plot in Forest Gate in 2020 and established about producing designs for a 3-bedroom home that was to be created working with regular blockwork and timber frame building.
Lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic led to a scarcity of products these as concrete, plasterboard and plywood, which became as well expensive to use in the venture. This prompted Wu to seem for extra reasonably priced and fewer normally utilised options.
“We made a decision to exploration and decide for materials that did not have offer chain challenges and could basically increase the building’s sustainability qualifications,” Wu told Dezeen.
The household is built employing domestically sourced timber and lime plaster, with cork panelling utilized to the inner and exterior partitions. This materials palette provides the interior an earthy and cocooning sense.
The cork was sourced from Portuguese firm Amorim via a Welsh provider named Mike Wye. Harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree, the product is highly insulating and was taken care of to meet fireplace-proofing laws.
“I had employed cork formerly as cavity insulation but I hadn’t actually utilized it as a wall end right before,” explained Wu, including that the materials has a multi-sensory quality that introduced a even further dimension to the task.
“It smells remarkable – like a little bit charred wood,” he suggested, “and it has this wealthy color and texture that will come alive when light hits the floor.”
The brownfield internet site was concealed from the primary street and surrounded by the usual walled gardens of the neighbouring terraced properties. This prompted the architect to request out innovative means of introducing daylight to the inside.
“The first factor I tried to do was to provide much more light-weight in using courtyards,” Wu described. “These internally struggling with courtyards also permitted us to develop cross ventilation throughout the areas.”
Creating restrictions confined the over-all height of the creating, so portion of the website was excavated to drop the ground degree by 50 % a storey, resulting in a split-stage interior.
Cork House’s entrance leads into a hallway that connects with the open up-system kitchen, eating area and lounge. A centrally found lightwell and staircase separates this area from two bedrooms and a shower home to the rear of the property.
“The two wings assistance distinguish concerning the general public and personal elements of the floor ground,” Wu pointed out. “The eating room and living region is someplace we can have functions and then the other additional personal wing incorporates the bedrooms.”
The main courtyard is lined with totally openable folding glass doors, building an indoor-out of doors dwelling space that is impressed by the time Wu expended residing in Australia through his childhood.
Together with the central lightwell, skylights, high-level windows and a lesser void in the back again corner of the household assure organic light penetrates deep into the interior areas.
Cork House’s decreased floor ground incorporates the main bedroom, which seems to be on to a courtyard at the base of the more substantial lightwell. The en-suite toilet also gets daylight from the corner lightwell.
Wu described the job as an example of “lovely sustainability” that showcases an experimental approach to self-making working with unusual resources and approaches driven by difficult situations.
“I would inspire other architects to choose on this kind of undertaking if they have the opportunity,” he additional. “Along with functioning for consumers, architects should really appear to lead building assignments and use them as prototypes for screening new materials and new means of dwelling.”
Cork is a pure and renewable content that has turn out to be increasingly well known with architects in latest yrs, as shown in our roundup of ten interiors with cork-lined walls.
Portuguese studio Inês Brandão Arquitectura applied cork to clad the higher storey of a home near Lisbon, creating textured surfaces that enhance the organic setting.
Nate Dalesio also included the exterior of his possess residence in the State of New York with corkboard panels picked to boost the building’s insulation.
The photography is by Lorenzo Zandri.